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New user to ux exchange here, so sorry in advance if this question isn't proper in any way.

I'm making a small program for fun to calculate the points in a cribbage hand. Here is the gui that I have so far:

gui

With the combo boxes representing the cards in hand, what should the initial states be? Right now they default to the first values in the lists, but that creates a state that represents a situation that isn't possible with a single deck of cards. Should I make a dummy entry like -Suit- and -Number-? Should these even be combo boxes? How should I handle this initial state?

Other comments on gui improvements are welcome

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For the initial state, I would go with your suggestion to have placeholders like -Suit- and -Number-.

This shows the user exactly what it is supposed to: the appropriate informational labels for the comboboxes and that a selection needs to be made.

On a side note, I thought it would be cool to have this design:

Cribbage Calculator Mockup

This would be the initial state. The actual faces of the selected cards would then fill those rectangles after a user selects their cards. Just playing around with some ideas. :)

  • that looks awesome! should the things like -suit- and -number- be reselectable after choosing an actual card/value? or should they disappear as choices? – dwcanillas Jun 30 '16 at 22:01
  • Hey, thanks! :) I think they should stay in an editable state. In this way, a user can re-select those inputs in case they accidentally chose the wrong option. – adriennetacke Jun 30 '16 at 23:34
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Resorting to the placeholders depends on whether or not the service will be functional with only a percentage of the choices properly chosen. If not, then the user has to select an option regardless and therefore the placeholder looses any importance.

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